Amendments to the Russian Civil Code on immovable things and rights to them

In December 2021, within a civil-law reform, amendments to the Russian Civil Code relating to the regulation of immovable property were adopted[1]. In particular, as of 1 March 2023[2]  the general part of the Civil Code will gain two new chapters: (1) on immovable property (a description of the main real estate objects and how they are created)[3] and (2) on property rights and other proprietary rights to them[4].

The new chapters of the Civil Code will include the following main provisions:

  1. The clarification that buildings and structures are immovable things created only as a result of construction[5]. Those who initiated the amendments believed that this clarification would stop disputes about treating questionable objects (cesspools, the paving of a land plot, large industrial equipment, etc.) as immovable property. However, the clarification doesn’t seem to resolve the issue completely.
  2. Now, premises and parking spaces cannot be formed in unfinished construction.
  3. Premises intended for servicing other premises in a building or structure are common property and cannot be traded as independent immovable things, except in certain cases established by law.
  4. The procedure for how a building/structure owner uses someone else’s land plot has been clarified. In particular, the owner of a building/structure that is located on a land plot owned by another person who has no right to use that land plot by law or by an agreement with the land plot’s owner may use the land plot to the extent necessary for him to access his building/structure.
  5. In the event of accidental loss of a building/structure located on someone else’s land plot, the owner of the building/structure retains the rights to the land plot, unless otherwise provided by law or agreement, and also has the right to restore it. Considering that these provisions do not specify the scope of the rights of the owner of the lost building/structure to the other person’s land plot during restoration work, we recommend that the parties agree on the relevant issues in the contract at the outset.
  6. A land plot with landscaping and improvements and that is both occupied by a commercial building/structure and needed in order to use the building/structure is part of the common property of the owners of premises/parking spaces in the building/structure. The owners have joint shared ownership of the land plot in the cases stipulated by the Civil Code and other law.
    We remind readers that, pursuant to Article 552(2) of the Civil Code, if the seller is the owner of the land plot on which the real estate being sold is located, the title to the land plot occupied by the real estate and necessary for its use is transferred to the buyer.
    In addition, pursuant to Article 35(4) of the Land Code of the Russian Federation, the part of the building/structure owned by the owner is disposed of together with the share in the title to the land plot on which the building/structure is located.
    However, we note that these provisions do not apply to cases where the land plot under a commercial building is leased to a developer.
  7. Provisions regulating the procedure for the owner of premises and parking spaces in a commercial building/structure to use common property have been introduced. As in the situation with residential buildings, common property in a commercial building/structure suitable for independent use may be provided for use to third parties by a two-thirds vote of the owners of premises/parking spaces in the building/structure if provision of the common property will not violate other owners’ interests.
  8. If the owner of premises/a parking space repeatedly violates neighbours’ rights and interests, and if the premises/parking space is/are used not for the intended purpose and necessary repairs are not made without a valid reason, a court may issue a decision to sell the premises at public auction with the proceeds being paid to the owner.
  9. There is now a provision regarding abandoned linear facilities that allows those required by law to operate them, among others, to file an application to register the facilities. Within three months, the operators may request that a court declare them the owners of the facilities.

We note that the new provisions of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation summarise the judicial practice that has formed in recent years. We recommend that you study the proposed changes and take them into account when planning real estate transactions.

[1]  Federal Law No. 430-FZ of 21 December 2021 “On Amendments to Part One of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation”.

[2] Amendments related to abandoned linear facilities entered into force on 21 December 2021.

[3] Chapter 6.1 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

[4] Chapter 17.1 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

[5] The clarification also sets down the previously established provisions of clauses 5 and 22 of Article 2(2) of Federal Law No. 384-FZ of 30 December 2009 “Technical Regulations on the Safety of Buildings and Structures”, according to which the building and structure are the result of construction.

Arina Dovzhenko

+7 931 210 09 55
St. Petersburg